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Saudi-led coalition rejects U.N. report on Yemen

RIYADH (Reuters) - A Saudi-led coalition fighting Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement on Thursday dismissed as subjective and biased a United Nations report that called for a ban on arms transfers to Yemen’s warring sides.

The report released on Tuesday said the United States, Britain and France may be complicit in war crimes in Yemen by arming and providing intelligence and logistics support to the coalition, which the study said deliberately starved civilians.

The panel of U.N. investigators who wrote the report recommended that all states impose a ban on arms transfers to the combatants to prevent them from being used to commit serious violations.

“The report was based on a number of inaccurate assumptions by the U.N. experts ... which stripped it of objectivity and impartiality,” said a statement published by the Saudi state news agency, SPA.

The coalition said it would provide a “comprehensive and detailed legal response” at a later time. It rejected the report’s assertion that the coalition had not cooperated or provided information to the panel.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the main parties in the coalition fighting the Houthis controlling Yemen’s capital, are two of the biggest buyers of U.S., British and French weapons.

The report accused the coalition of killing civilians in air strikes and deliberately denying them food in a country facing famine.

The coalition said on Thursday that it remained fully committed to carrying out its military operations under the rules of international human law and international human rights law.

The Houthis drove Yemen’s government out of the capital Sanaa in 2014. The Saudi-led coalition of Sunni Muslim states intervened the following year to restore the ousted government, a conflict that has since killed tens of thousands of people.

The prospect of famine has created what the United Nations describes as the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis, where 24 million people rely on aid.

Reporting by Marwa Rashad; Editing by William Maclean